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Plug In Drivers Not Missin' the Piston

This is the Kodak Moment for the Auto Industry. Electric vehicles are here to stay. Their market acceptance and growth will continue....

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Two Years of Tesla Ownership

We've had our Tesla Model X for 2 years now. Last year I detailed the delivery story and a few minor issues here in our 1 year of ownership post. Now at the 2-year mark, I can report that I still love the car. It is so much fun. This is by far the best (and most expensive) car that I've ever owned. The software updates bring improvements and easter eggs that keep the car exciting.

How is the car aging?
We have nearly 25,000 miles on the odometer. With my other cars, I would typically only have 9 or 10 thousand miles per year. I enjoy this can so much that I'm looking for reasons to drive it. I've taken two road trips to San Diego and for a family vacation, we toured the 7 Wonders of Oregon, we traveled to southern Oregon multiple times to visit family, and we've taken it to the coast for beach clean-up events. We've even used bioweapon defense mode while traveling through the smoke of raging forest fires.

After buying a Leaf in 2011, I was hooked on electric and knew that I was never going back to a gas car. However, the Leaf experience left me concerned about battery degradation. Before buying the Model X, I researched Tesla's battery lifespan & degradation and was impressed by graphs like the one below:

Seeing that they have been highly reliable is great, but how is my car doing? Similar to the tracking that I've been doing with our Leaf since 2012, I've been collecting and charting battery data for our Tesla for over a year now. Here's the resulting graph:
The first graph shows degradation based on distance driven, whereas my graph is based on age, but we do know the odometer reading.

2-years, ~25,000 miles ~40,000 km, degradation = 4.3% 

This puts my results inline with others in the first chart. The good news is that degradation seems to significantly slow down after ~5%. Time will tell. Our Leaf never seems to find a spot where the degradation slowed. As the range decreased, the demands on the battery capacity grew and with it so did the degradation this caused. The Tesla, on the other hand, has far more capacity and a far better thermal management system. Next year's 3-year report will be telling.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

National Drive Electric Week event in Wilsonville on September 15th, 2018

NDEW 2017 at Washington Square Mall Indoor Display
The OEVA is holding their National Drive Electric Week event in Wilsonville on September 15th from 10-3.

A big part of the event is the PGE Electric Test Drive – people who test drive EV’s leading up to and at the event can earn free entries into the OEVA fundraising raffle. The prize is $5,000 towards the purchase or lease of an EV (new or used)! Note: Current OEVA members are NOT eligible to win, but someone that joins after Sept 1st is OK.

The OEVA is selling raffle tickets @$5 each, PGE is purchasing the free tickets that are given away for test drives. If you know friends/co-workers that want to buy tickets, we will have them for sale at the event (and at our monthly meeting on Thur)

We currently have 10+ dealers providing test drives at the event, with more giving free entries for test drives at their locations leading up to the event.

Platt Auto will be doing test drives on used EVs and we will draw for a fun door prize – 3 day extended test drive of a Tesla Model S subject to availability). He is also giving away a JuiceBox Pro 40 at his booth – stop by and enter the drawing.

As always, we can use volunteers!

You can get more info and register to attend (or volunteer) at:

Gary Exner

Friday, September 7, 2018

Plug In: Oregon Department of Energy Invites Oregonians to Celebrate National Drive Electric Week

News Release Header
September 7, 2018
Jennifer Kalez, 503-480-9239

Plug In: Oregon Department of Energy Invites Oregonians to Celebrate National Drive Electric Week

SALEM — It’s National Drive Electric Week, and the Oregon Department of Energy wants Oregonians to know that now is a great time to go electric. From September 8-16, we’re celebrating zero emissions with plenty of torque, widespread availability of plug-in all-electric and hybrid vehicles, and an expanding network of charging infrastructure to support EV adoption.
With an array of financial incentives and rebates, Oregonians can save big by making the switch to an EV. The Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program offers savings of up to $5,000 for qualifying EVs. Combined with a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, you could save about a third of the cost of some EV models. “DEQ is excited to offer financial incentives through the Oregon Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which will reduce barriers to purchasing EVs, protect public health, and fight climate change,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman.
Oregon electric utilities are also stepping up to support EV adoption. Eugene Water & Electric Board customers can qualify for a $300 rebate on new or used electric vehicles. Pacific Power customers can save an extra $3,000 on a 2018 Nissan LEAF if they buy before September 30.
EVs are fun to drive, with plenty of get-up-and-go. Plus, they are often less expensive to run and maintain than traditional gasoline cars. Five dollars’ worth of gasoline can get you about 47 miles down the road, while a $5 EV battery charge will take you about 176 miles! And with bigger, lighter batteries and more fast charging stations across the state, including along some of Oregon’s most scenic roadways, electric vehicles are road trip-ready.
EVs offer another important benefit: zero tailpipe emissions. “Electric vehicles are a better choice for our environment,” said Janine Benner, Oregon Department of Energy Director and EV owner. “Replacing traditional engines with zero emission vehicles can help reduce greenhouse gases and harmful air pollutants. That’s why we hope to have at least 50,000 registered EVs on Oregon roads by the end of 2020.”
Ready to take a test drive? National Drive Electric Week events are popping up in Oregon over the next week – check them out at driveelectricweek.org/events.php. From car shows to ride-and-drive events, there’s something for everyone. Head over to Sunriver for Midstate Electric Coop’s Electric Tailgate Party, take the scenic route to the beach for Drive Electric Yachats, or pop up to Wilsonville for the PGE Electric Test Drive and enter to win $5,000 off the purchase of an EV.
Learn more about EVs in Oregon, including how the State of Oregon is working to reach our 50,000 EV goal, on the Go Electric Oregon website: goelectric.oregon.gov
Electric Avenue
"Electric Avenue" in Portland, OR

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

1 Million EVs on US Roadways Very Soon

There are 956 thousand plug-in cars on US roads today. About 33 thousand of these were added in August of this year. And the growth is not showing any sign of slowing. If September and October put up similar results, we'll cross the 1 Million Milestone!
data via InsideEVs
We first started tracking the progress towards this goal in 2016. Back then, we projected that as 200+ mile EVs came out, these EVs would appeal to a larger market than the ~ 100-mile range EVs had and that EVs sales would grow and we'd be ringing in 2019 with more than 1 million EVs on the US roads. I'm happy to report that this forecast has proven to be very accurate.

2018 will be the Year of 1 Million Plug-in Vehicles on U.S. roadways.

There's at least one person, however, that might not be happy to see these domestically fueled cars on the roadway. That person is Charles Lane, Washington Post opinion writer. You see, Charles proposed a wager with a fellow journalist. Charles didn’t think that there would be 1 million plug-in hybrid and all-electric cars on the road in the United States by 2018. The stakes of the bet are a new car. If Charles wins, he gets a new BMW. If he loses, he has to buy a Chevy Volt for his fellow journalist. If "by 2018" means "by the end of 2018" then Charles better make friends with his local Chevy dealer and start shopping for year-end specials.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Model 3 is here!

Delivery Day

On March 31st of 2016, I stood in line (like thousands of others) to reserve a Tesla Model 3. This car was the culmination of Tesla's 2006 master plan to make a compelling, affordable, electric car. The Model 3 is far and away the best selling EV; as well as the best selling car in its segment, outselling all other cars in the small and midsize luxury sedan segment in the US. That's more than the BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes C-Class, Audi A3, and many others. This car is a game changer, putting more electric cars on the road.

Here's our car's configuration.

Timeline From Reservation to Delivery

DateDays Since ReservationEvent
3/31/20160Stood in line to reserve a Model 3
7/28/2017484First Model 3s delivered to Tesla employees
2/4/2018675Invited to order First Production.
Opted to wait for dual motor.
6/26/2018817Ordered dual motor
7/29/2018850Changed to white seats

VIN Decode - Yep, It's Dual Motor 

The badge on the back says dual motor. Without climbing under the car, how could I confirm this? One method is by the VIN. In addition to telling you where the car occurred in the production sequence, the VIN also tells you many other things about the car. Here is our VIN breakdown (or at least one close to it).
VIN decoder from http://teslatap.com/vin-decoder/ 
The VIN confirms that it has a second motor.

Getting Ready for the Road

Before taking off on a road trip, we're getting a paint protection film and window tinting installed. Tesla might be leaving some money on the table by not offering these. Dashcams are another product that many Tesla owners install. If these were an option in the design studio, I'm sure Tesla could sell a few and increase their margin on the vehicle. However, at this point in time, Tesla are trying to increase their production volume, so these minor revenue items would only slow them down, but they might be something to consider later. These are just minor issues, let's look at the bigger issue.

The Harbinger of Change

Telephones were invented in 1876 and they had very few changes for over a century. They had rotary dials until touch-tone phones came along in the 1980s. The next big change was the adoption of smartphones after the iPhone burst onto the scene in 2007. The iPhone was not the first smartphone, but it was the one that spread beyond the early adopters. Similarly, the Model 3 is not the first electric car, but it is the one that has captured the public's imagination. Many people that have never been interested in electric cars before are buying Model 3s. The transition of personal transportation will not happen as quickly as the move to smartphones, but it has begun. 

I'll be driving around in our 3 (as soon as the paint protection is applied), giving people rides, and letting friends drive it to help bring the future here a little sooner. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Tesla Model 3 Performance qualifies for Free Supercharging w/ code

Tesla Model 3 Performance, photo via Autoweek
The performance version of the Model 3 now qualifies for Free Supercharging if (and only if) you use a referral code when you buy it.

This referral program started on August 1, 2018. When it will end is not clear.

Here is my code patrick7819; feel free to use it with a Model S, Model X, Model 3 Performance, or even a Roadster.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Elon Musk Book List - Adults and Children

Undaunted: How Elon Musk Created 3 Giant Companies And Became A Billionaire by Ivan Fernandez
Love him or hate him, he's one of the most interesting people of our time. On one hand, he has grand visions for a multiplanetary future, has delivered more zero-emission cars than all the other auto-makers combined, sells solar panels to 'fuel' those cars with sunshine, has gone up against huge entrenched interests and come out victorious where others might have balked at the attempt. On the other hand, he's outspoken on twitter, has a habit of promising things will happen in "3 months maybe, 6 months definitely" that might take years to deliver. Millions have been made and lost on Tesla stock based on his utterances in quarterly calls with analysts.

If you want to know more about the man behind SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, Hyperloop, (previously) OpenAI, Neuralink and what's behind his public persona, you're not alone. There are several books written about him. Where he comes from, his parents, upbringing, siblings, influences, first principles thinking...

The book to start with (and the only one that Musk agreed to be interviewed for AFAIK) is Ashlee Vance's Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Musk has refuted a few things in the book such as how he terminated his personal assistant when she asked for vacation time, but this is by far the most comprehensive of the Musk biographies.

Next on the list is the booklet Elon Musk: Biography of a Self-Made Visionary, Entrepreneur and Billionaire. It covers Musk's early companies Zip2, X.com, & PayPal. And how doing things in a new way has been a driving force behind each of Musk's companies be it SpaceX and the Journey to Mars, or SolarCity giving away solar panels and selling the electricity that they generate.

Next we have, Elon Musk: The Life, Lessons & Rules For Success. You generally don't become a billionaire without hard work and guiding principles. Musk often works 80 to 100 hours a week and expects others around him to "work their asses off too." All of this is in service of the vision of creating a "future that doesn't suck."

Last in this section is Elon Musk’s Best Lessons for Life, Business, Success and Entrepreneurship. Musk famously said "Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough." This book covers Musk's failures and how for most people, the fear of failure prevents the biggest successes. Success is found on the far side of failure; embrace failure, learn from it, innovate.

The Creative Gang

Musk is also included in books with other out of the box CEOs such as Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos.

Secrets to Success in Life & Business of Billionaires is a 3 book set covering Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson.

Next, we have The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos.

Books For Kids

Musk is an inspiring figure. He launches rockets, makes cool cars, digs tunnels, and was the inspiration for the modern Iron Man movie franchize. He has captured popular culture's imagination and this includes children's.

There are several books about Musk for children. Just as the first list started with a book by Ashlee Vance, so does this section. Elon Musk and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Young Readers' Edition is adapted from the full biography.

For even younger children, there's Elon Musk: This Book Is about Rockets. Becuase rockets are awesome and ones that land themselves on a barge floating at sea are even cooler. One day, they might even take us to Mars.

I hope you can find something engaging to read for yourself, a friend, or family in this list. Enjoy.